Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Q1 palm oil exports drop 3.6%

Q1 palm oil exports drop 3.6%

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Kingdom exported 11,360 tonnes of palm oil in January-March, down by 3.62 per cent year-on-year. Heng Chivoan

Q1 palm oil exports drop 3.6%

Cambodia exported more than 11,000 tonnes of palm oil in the first quarter of 2022, representing a nearly four per cent decrease year-on-year, the latest agriculture ministry data has revealed.

According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia exported 11,360 tonnes of palm oil from January to March 2022, a decrease of 3.62 per cent from the same period last year. India was the largest export market with 9,700 tonnes, followed by Malaysia with 1,500 tonnes and Thailand at 160 tonnes.

An agro-industrial crop, palm oil is an important raw material that is processed primarily as food, biofuel, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Mong Reththy is the board chairman of namesake conglomerate Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd, Cambodia’s largest palm oil exporter. He attributed the decline of exports of the commodity earlier this year to the advanced age of most of Cambodia’s population of oil palm trees – with a majority of them over two decades old – which has caused yields to fall.

“Some of the oil palms are now 25 years old, and this is a time [in their lifespan] where yields decline, despite the favourable weather. I guess in the next few months, palm oil yields will not increase much,” he said.

Reththy added that his company is aiming to expand its cultivation of oil palms to 30,000ha, from its current 20,000ha, but said they were not yet able to expand further due to insufficient rainfall in other provinces compared to their current base in the Preah Sihanouk region.

Compared to other countries in the ASEAN region, such as Thailand and Malaysia, the cultivation of oil palms makes up a relatively small share of Cambodian agriculture.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said that the limited nature of palm oil production in the Kingdom means it is not yet in a position to be able to attract investment in processing plants for the commodity.

“The amount of palm oil harvested by Mong Reththy Group Co Ltd until recently has been low, so [the company] could neither supply the processing plants nor attract investment in the factories,” he said.

He noted that some companies have invested in oil palm plantations in places such as Mondulkiri province, but that these ventures have failed thus far due to the region facing a lack of rainfall.

However, the CCC vice-president struck an optimistic tone, saying that he expects there may be small-scale factories in the future that process locally harvested palm oil into cooking oil or other products “to reduce low-cost raw materials exports, and increase the export of high-value processed products”.

According to data from the agriculture ministry, Cambodia exported 62,217 tonnes of palm oil in 2021, up by 14.22 per cent compared to 2020, with 48,977 tonnes exported to India and 13,240 tonnes to Malaysia.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Hun Sen’s rare visit to Cuba: What’s going on?

    Back on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would deliver a speech at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN headquarters in the US’ New York City, visit Cuba and attend the state funeral of the slain Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo